Introduction to Harmony for Year 2

Now is a great time to introduce harmony to Y2.  I do this through the song “Little Donkey”.  First I teach the part of the song that goes ” Ring out those Bells tonight, Bethlehem, Bethlehem.  Follow that star tonight, Bethlehem, Bethlehem”.  I then put four children in the four corners of the room and give them four hand bells, high C, B, A and G.  The children play CCCBAG then sing “Bethlehem, Bethlehem”.  I explain this is a melody.  I then put another child in each group with a harmony note.  I explain when you put the sounds together you create harmony.  I then put a third child in each group.  I explain this is still harmony but often when you have 3 or more notes together in harmony it can be called a chord.  I then add more harmony notes so all children have a bell.  We then move around as a carousel so all children get a turn of playing in each chord.  I sometimes get another child to play the Bethlehem, Bethlehem bit on a glockenspiel. 

To do this activity you will need hand bells.  They aren’t too expensive.  I recommend you get 3 sets of diatonic bells and one set of chromatic.  You will need an F sharp for this activity to sound right.  I use bells quite a lot so I think it is a good investment if you don’t have them.  Nonetheless they are not indestructible and every 3 to 5 years you may need to replace a few that are not working well. 

The next lesson will repeat this activity but we also learn the tune and put the coconuts/woodblocks in for the donkey.  I set the whole song as an optional homework.

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